Atherton police have reported four residential burglaries in town over the last four days. In news bulletins, police emphasized that there were delays in responding to the break-ins because alarm companies didn't immediately notify the department, and that the crimes may be connected to a burglary spree in town three years ago.
Three of the four burglaries share the same method of operation as the November 2018 to February 2019 burglary spree in town: Burglars break in by smashing second floor master bedroom windows and doors. A large share of these burglaries were committed by Chilean gang members operating out of Southern California, police said.
"Our initial investigation has revealed these burglaries may once again be tied to the same group of organized Chilean gang members," police wrote Monday. This year, there have been 40 residential burglaries, two commercial burglaries, and two vehicle burglaries, said Cmdr. Daniel Larsen said in a Tuesday email.
These are the same thieves who are suspected of taking $800,000 worth of jewelry from an Atherton home in December 2020.
The first burglary took place on Friday (Sept. 24) around 8:25 p.m. when a residential alarm was activated on the unit block of Kilroy Way, according to police. Burglars smashed a master bedroom window at the back of the house. Six minutes later, a third-party alarm company notified police of the break-in. Burglars took about $17,500 worth of purses, jewelry, watches and more from the home, Larsen said.
At about 6 a.m. the following day, a resident on the 200 block of Oak Grove Avenue, near Menlo-Atherton High School, reported a notification from his surveillance camera showing strangers leaving the residence. They had smashed a window at the back of the home to break in. After further investigation, police found that the burglary happened on Thursday (Sept. 23) shortly before 10 p.m. The victim is unsure of what was taken.
On Saturday, according to a police news bulletin, an alarm sounded at 7:53 p.m. on the unit block of Nora Way. Burglars broke in by smashing a master bedroom glass door to the back of the residence. It took 17 minutes for the third-party alarm company to contact police after the alarm went off. It's unclear what was stolen, police said.
Around 9 a.m. Monday (Sept. 27), a resident who lives on the unit block of Rosewood Drive, near Wisteria Way, reported that their home had been burglarized between Thursday and Monday morning.
Burglars forced open a ground floor window, police said. Police are investigating the crime.
Police are asking residents to remember to lock their doors and set their security alarms. The police department offers free alarm monitoring, which includes immediate dispatch of officers upon activation.
The delay in alarm companies reporting alarms to the police depends on the notification system the homeowners have with their alarm company, Larsen explained.
"Some homeowners have a list of responsible people to call before police department is notified of the alarm," he said. "The burglaries that go unreported for days are usually because the resident does not activate their alarm."
Anyone who lives in the area of these burglaries and saw or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact the Atherton Police Department at 650-688-6500.